A unique role the youth could play in the discussion and planning on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) is to emphasize the goals 7 and 8 by highlighting some important dimensions that are not explicitly worded in those two goals. The 7th MDG goal preaches for fostering a safe environment for development, while the 8th goal advocates for a global partnership. I acknowledge that all 8 goals are equal in importance and interrelated to some extent. However I think that one could not effectively eradicate poverty or fight HIV/AID in an unsafe environment that does not allow doing so.

I hypothesize here that one of the biggest challenges and greatest concerns for today’s world is safety. The world is not safe anymore. By that I mean all the violent conflicts facing the world in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, North America, and elsewhere. Today world’s issues of safety include not only terrorism, but also threats represented by weapons of mass destruction for international peace and global security, civil wars, international threats of wars, and genocides. Everywhere people worry about their safety. In the metro people are afraid of potential suicide bombers despite tight security measures; at the airports across the world and in the air sentiments of fear exist; in countries facing civil wars and threats of genocide, innocent civilians fear for their lives; and every reasonable citizen of the world is concerned about how we deal with existing and upcoming nuclear weapons.

Facing those critical challenges requires the world leaders to build partnership for peace, which in my view represents a condition sine qua non for any partnership for development. In order words, all policymakers and decision-makers must understand the critical need for more diplomacy, which is simply the need to talk, negotiate and humbly accept to listen, not only to each other, but also to their constituencies, to their people, and to their youth leaders. Nobody can do it alone. Nobody can change the world by refusing to talk to other stakeholders of the world. At this age, it is time we learn to fully observe core principles of Track-I and Multi-track-diplomacy, by talking even to those we think might be enemies, for the sake of global security. Political autism would hardly be efficient for international relations in today’s fragile international context. Lessons learned form Iraq should help the US and other key international role-players understand that the use of force, miscalculated deterrence, and intimidation without what I call humble-and-persistent diplomacy is conducive to political chaos and regional disaster. Due to their young age, the youth has the energy and the dynamism to make the world leaders opt for constructive partnership for global peace and development. The youth of all nations must speak out and take action again and again until they reach the core goal of international peace and global security.

Jacques KOKO, Senior Political Analyst -Americans for Informed Democracy